ESL tips - Don't miss out on what the city has to offer!
When you think of Montpellier, you may not think of water sports, but you should! From kayaking on the Lez River to kitesurfing and even rafting, there are plenty of water sports available for newbies to try out or for experts to continue practising. If you’re already down at the beach trying your hand at paddle surfing, make sure not to miss the Beach Masters volleyball tournament, held annually in June.
If you’re more into watching sports, you’ve got plenty of options as well! Football fans can head to the Stade de la Mosson to cheer on Montpellier HSC as they face off against the crème de la crème of France’s football teams. If rugby’s your thing, check out the Montpellier Hérault rugby team at their home stadium, Altrad.
Practise your French in Montpellier
Since you’re in Montpellier to learn French, why not practise it with the locals? WeGoLingo organises weekly French/English language exchanges where you’ll be paired up with a local and hold a conversation in French and English for eight minutes each. Different rounds of conversation allow you to get to know four or five different people, and themes and games ensure that you’re never at a loss for what to talk about! And, since it’s held at a bar, you can have a beer or a glass of wine for a little liquid courage ;)
If you’ve been studying a language for long enough, you’ve probably had the experience of trying to watch a film in the language you’re studying and feeling completely lost. At Montpellier’s Cinéma Gaumont Comédie, you’ll feel like a pro! French films include French subtitles, so you can easily follow along with the movie’s dialogue. No more missing major plot points!
Take a day trip from Montpellier
While Montpellier is so awesome you’ll never want to leave, if you’re there on a longer language stay you might want to get out and about and explore a little more of France! Hop on the train to Toulouse and be there in just two hours and 15 minutes, where you can explore medieval architecture and watch the world go by in the Capitole square.
At about 2 hours away by bus, you can take your pick between the coastal city of Marseille and the winding cobbled streets of the old walled city in Carcassonne. In Marseille, stroll along the old port bordered by pastel-hued buildings, and visit the Château d’If, the island prison which inspired The Count of Monte Cristo. Get lost in La Cité in Carcassonne, painstakingly preserved and full of the cutest shops and restaurants you’ve ever seen. Visit the cathedral and walk along the old city walls to truly feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Watch, Read, Listen
Watch The Man Who Loved Women (1976) Director: François Truffaut
A French cult classic, this film follows main character Bertrand through flashbacks up to his funeral attended by all of his former flames. Notorious ladies’ man Burt Reynolds would later on play the title character in the 1983 American version.
Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (1991) Director: Leos Carax
This enormously expensive film made headlines because it had to recreate the entire Pont-Neuf of Paris and its surroundings in a field outside of Montpellier. Can you tell the difference between the real thing and the recreated set in this romantic flick?
Battle of the Year (2013) Director: Benson Lee
Who knew that Montpellier was the breakdancing capital of France? This fictional film chronicles the real event, Battle of the Year, that pits the best hip hop dance crews in France against each other.
Movies in Montpellier
Movie buffs can head to the Ciné-Club Jean Vigo for a classic film screening in the original language with subtitles followed by discussion of the film – the perfect way to practise your French!
Diagonal Capitole is another original language cinema just behind the Place de la Comédie, while Utopia Cinema is an adorable antique theatre that also hosts live music in addition to original language films. Take advantage of summer outdoor cinema at the Domaine d’O during the month of August for a treat!
Read Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake (1980) by Frank W. Abagnale
Before it was a movie made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, Catch Me If You Can was the autobiography of the famous fraudster Frank Abagnale, and the site of his famous arrest was none other than Montpellier!
French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France (1991) by Richard Goodman
In the countryside surrounding Montpellier, American ex-pat Richard Goodman acquires a villa and plot of land where he attempts to start a garden and blend in with the French way of life.
Labyrinth (2005) by Kate Mosse
This is the first book in the Languedoc Trilogy (followed by Sepulchre and Citadel). Historical fiction fans will love reading about the Languedoc region with a healthy dose of suspense!
Listen Montpellier (1982) by Johnny Hallyday Montpellier Sound System (2004) by Stevo’s Teen Ready (2015) by Ndobo-emma Remember (2016) by Eve and the Travelers Montpel (2016) by Gwen
Live music in Montpellier
Luckily for music lovers, there are tons of options for live music in Montpellier. Rockstore is a popular club venue and huge student mecca that books big names, while Le Jam is a music school that brings in musicians playing every type of world music under the sun. For more intimate venues, La Pleine Lune, Nu-Bahia, Red Turtle and La Petite Scene are great places to catch some local live music over a glass of wine or a cocktail, while L’Antirouille is a small club that hosts bands and DJ’s.